Sony does tend to have that "sucks to own next year" thing going on (as does Toshiba), but there are manufacturing problems all across the board. And the biggest one?
Electronics have been soldered together for close to a hundred years with leaded solder. Then, the Europeans decided that it would be a really good idea to just pull the lead out of everything. Good move.
What can you replace the lead with? That's a really tough question, and companies have been trying to figure this out in the aftermath. You can't just throw silver or copper into the mix and expect everything to be the same. It ends up that when you do, the solder has a significantly higher melting point (i.e. ever tried desoldering RoHS process solder?) and is incredibly brittle. Where lead would stretch or distort, RoHS solder snaps. And here is your problem.
With IC package miniaturization, consumer electronics now use chip packages without leads. Cellular phones, portable devices, video cards, and many more now use BGA packages, where there are hundreds of balls of solder on the underside of the chip. Each ball has very little mechanical stability as the balls are so small. When the chip's CTE is not exactly matched to the board's CTE, one expands (or contracts) more quickly than the other, and BAM! you have a cold solder joint.
So in the end, what is worse for the environment? Throwing away a Sony product and buying another every year rather than three? Or dumping/recycling the product after three?
RoHS: Planned Obsolescence